Champions for Cultural Diversity 2017

by Gordon Mihan
October 23, 2017

The purpose of the Champions for Cultural Diversity is to recognize employers for their good practices in the areas of diversity, inclusion and the integration of newcomers into the labor market in New Brunswick.

We received a total of 47 nominations for both categories: 40 Anglophone and 7 Francophone. From these 47 nominations, we chose 6 winners representing three different categories: large business, small and medium business and individuals.

To choose the winners, we created a committee, made up of 6 of our members’ representatives. We conducted follow up calls with the nominees and onsite visits with the finalists. It was a long and fair process to ensure that the winners were chosen impartially.

We are pleased to announce that this year we had significant recognition of individuals from the various communities, this prompted the decision to add a new ‘special award’ category.
We have added two special awards this year to thank the contributions of three leaders, devoted to the welcoming and integration of newcomers.

The winners are as follows:


Roy Consultants

Roy Consultants, located in Bathurst, employs 90 people across the province and has hired international students, permanent residents and participated in the investment initiative of the Chaleur Multicultural Association.

Roy Consultants and their team believe in the potential of their community. They work with the local multicultural association and actively participate in exploratory visits and work placements. Roy Consultants consciously supports and encourages diversity to create an inclusive culture based on diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
Mr. Arseneau says, “We hire the right candidate, regardless of their background, not where you come from, what you do is important, what matters is if you are a good partner for our company. ”


City of Moncton

The City of Moncton believes in the value of immigration; by actively promoting diversity, and encouraging citizens to sponsor newcomer families, The City has shown a strong leadership role in the development, promotion and delivery of many innovative diversity and inclusion initiatives through the City of Moncton Immigration Strategy and the Local Immigration Partnership.

The city of Moncton leads the Moncton Immigration Strategy (developed in 2014) and it has hired a full time permanent position fully focused on immigration and creating an inclusive workplace and community. This Strategy Officer is strategically supporting diversity in the workplace/community through the various LIP Working Groups that they chair (i..e Welcoming Communities, Labour Market Integration, Entrepreneurial and Francophone). By rolling out a Diversity Strategy – they have become the first employer to sign on a Skilled Immigrant Mentorship Pilot with MAGMA that aims to bring together skilled immigrants and experienced professionals. This will help newcomers better integrate and build the networks and local knowledge they need to find employment in their field of expertise.

The City of Moncton offered cultural competency training to over 300 participants including all municipal employees, HR professionals, general managers, the Mayor, as well as members of Council.


Carrefour Beausoleil

The mission of the Beausoleil Community Hub is to promote the development and influence of the Acadian and Francophone communities in the Miramichi region. Their motto is “Working together to grow together”.

At the community center, they help guide newcomers and make them feel welcome and integrated.
The organization hired a recently immigrated young woman from Burundi as project manager. This was her first work experience in Canada. The Director of Community Development says that she has taught them a lot about language, customs and corporate culture and that is very rewarding.

They work with the regional multicultural association and have worked with MAPAM, which aims to provide personalized and social integration services and to establish partnerships with the association through exploratory visits.


Crescent Valley Resource Centre

The list of initiatives and activities that the center is offering to the community is very long. The center staff and board say that they’ve always done whatever they could to make the lives of newcomers easier in SJ.

They were highly involved in welcoming many families to their neighbourhood during the Syrian Refugee resettlement efforts. They made their space available for meetings and social events; they organized social and learning events, such as English conversation circles, food sale, fund raising for refugees, and so much more.
Not realizing what a unique place they were creating, they felt that their open-door philosophy became essential for the residents. They began trying to bridge the gap between new and old residents by bringing them together. They even hired 4 newcomers Arabic speakers, so that these new residents could feel more comfortable speaking to someone in their own language.

The Crescent Valley Resource Centre had become a home for newcomers and is making an amazing impact with broad partnerships in many community circles.


Jean-Luc Chiasson

Mr. Chiasson is a volunteer and participates in multicultural events with the Chaleur Region Multicultural Association regularly. He is strongly involved in welcoming newcomers through his volunteer work with local associations.

He always goes further to try to help immigrants in their social integration. He cares about the well-being of international students and helps them to adapt to the culture and feel welcome. He has lived and taught in Senegal and, therefore, he understands the importance of having a friendly and accommodating community and therefore helps new families to integrate.

Northern New Brunswick is small, there are not many services, so if there are no activities to retain residents and newcomers, people feel isolated and leave. As a Community Development Officer at CCNB, he worked closely with International Students and created an “International Friendship Club” because he believes that integration is key.


Grace Shaw

Grace Shaw, known to the MACC staff as “Amazing Grace”, has been involved with welcoming refugees and newcomers as a Cultural Mentor and English Tutor Volunteer since the early 1990s, years before the establishment of the Multicultural Association of Carleton County. Over the years, Grace has provided English tutoring lessons to countless newcomers in the Woodstock area, and has helped them understand Canadian culture, community and language through Cultural Mentoring. Grace has even been a grandmother to someone who was missing hers back home.

She also actively seeks to engage newcomers in community and networking events, to help them integrate into their new home.

When Grace enters the room at MACC, everyone shouts out “Grace is here!” and the atmosphere in the room noticeably brightens with everyone’s smiles. Despite her age and generation, she fully embraces people of all cultural backgrounds. Grace has indeed become a dear friend to many newcomers in Carleton County and a remarkable volunteer to the association.


Mira Kalaba and Olivia Bizimungu at ‘Club International’

Mira and Olivier are students from immigrant families, who stand out in leadership in the Francophone community. They were high school students when they created an international club at St. Anne’s School that meets once a week to learn about different cultures. They wanted to create a safe space for international students and Canadians to meet and learn from each other. They also organize cultural sensitivity events throughout the year such as the Intercultural Evening each spring.

These young women defend cultural diversity and inclusion in schools through events they organize, to raise awareness and create inclusive spaces. They also volunteer with the Multicultural Association of Fredericton.


Saa Andrew Gbongbor

Saa is a former refugee from Sierra Leone who currently resides in Fredericton, NB. He attended Saint Thomas University where he majored in human rights and world history, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Saa Andrew is the president of the New Brunswick African Association. He is the producer of a youth talent show empowering newcomer youth to find avenues for developing self-confidence and ways for self-expression through arts. Saa is also a member of the New Brunswick Arts/Youth Commission. His goal is to use the arts to create change in his community and beyond. He is an up-and-coming entrepreneur who enjoys working with groups, organizations, and individuals with the aim of building stronger communities

Since arriving in Canada in June 2004, Saa has been working with the Multicultural Association of Fredericton as a child and youth facilitator, which gives him the opportunity to meet diverse people from all over the world. In his day to day, Saa goes above and beyond in the Fredericton region as well as across Canada to promote cultural diversity and inclusion through various community arts and recreation initiatives. Through the initiatives that he creates and leads, youth from diverse cultural backgrounds are able to make active contributions in their community. With his mentoring and connections, he is able to help so many newcomers feel like they truly belong, and even access employment – giving them financial security. It is with honor that I present this special contribution award to a dear member and an inspiring entrepreneur – Thank you Saa Andrew for your commitment to helping newcomers integrate in Canada!